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Discover the benefits of food packaging

Hardly any party can do without it. We are talking about plastic cups, plates, bowls and glasses when you don’t have to worry about washing the dishes. After use, you simply throw them into a waste container. When waste is properly sorted, plastic can be easily recycled, ground up and reprocessed so that it retains almost the same properties as the original product.

Discover the benefits of food packaging
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Which substances are good for packaging food and beverages?

“These advanced materials are polyolefins, including polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Polyethylene can be divided into low-density polyethylene, referred to as LDPE, and high-density polyethylene, referred to as HDPE," says Jakub Olšan of Polymer Institute Brno, where polymers are developed and tested.

In food storage, polyolefins are particularly suitable for their minimal extraction of additives into food, thus avoiding its contamination. They have excellent organoleptic properties, that is, they don’t exude any smell or taste. They also have excellent filtering properties, which means they prevent the passage of air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, moisture, and water from inside and outside the packaging. Packaging materials for food are very light.

Yoghurt and beverage cups, plastic dishes (plates, cups, bowls, glasses), disposable bowls for hot and cold meals, food foil, food packaging and bags, and caps for PET bottles are made from these materials. They are also used to make plastic lunch boxes.

It’s durable and easy to process

"Polyolefins have good mechanical properties, the material is tough and has an acceptable solidity, so even when moderately strained, the package will not crack and remains intact. Polyethylene can be used at temperatures below 0°C, so it’s also suitable packaging material for frozen foods," adds Jakub Olšan.

The material remains tough even at low temperatures. Polypropylene isn’t suitable for such low temperatures, but contrary to polyethylene it can be used for heating food and washing dishes in a dishwasher where the temperature is around 100°C or more. This material can resist it.

Polyolefins can be easily processed using standard technologies, in particular by injecting, blowing, dispersion and thermoforming. After production, they are easy to stack or store in large numbers in a relatively small space before they are filled with a product.

They can be easily recycled when a quantity of a selected material is ground and reprocessed while retaining almost the same properties as the original product. This is the case when waste is properly sorted.